College Interview v. Job Interview

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This message is from my niece.

I’ve got my first-ever college interview tomorrow, which is not actually a job interview but resembles one in many ways. Any words of wisdom/useful links/encouraging clichés?

I have no idea but that never stopped me from having an opinion. This is my advice.

  • Hiring decisions are made on likability. It’s not fair [or tremendously legal] but it’s true. So you need to be as likable as possible. How is likability assessed? In a subjective way based on how you look and act. Sit up straight, smile, and make eye contact. The less talking you do, the better. (People like to hear themselves talk.) Answer questions in a concise way and smile after you answer the question.
  • Irony and self-deprecation are okay in small doses. Stay positive and stay on message. [What’s your message? You are awesome, you are smart, and any school would be lucky to have you.]
  • Be prepared. Have a mental list of the really great things you’ve accomplished during the past three years. Have a mental list of questions you want answered. [What’s the greatest challenge a first-year student faces at that school? What makes graduates from the school unique and wholly differentiated from similar universities? What’s the biggest surprise a first-year student faces at that school? Those questions might suck. I dunno. You come up with your own list.]
  • Don’t be nervous. Nobody likes a nervous nellie. And this is what I have to offer you — Eff. Them. You are brilliant and amazing. They don’t want you? They can shove it.

Hm. I’m probably wrong.

I am sure there are parents and students out there who have gone through this process. Can you help my niece? Also, today is her birthday. Where does the time go? When I met her, she was a toddler. A cute, funny, adorable little girl. Now she’s all grown up. Still cute — but now she is formidable! If you could offer any guidance or advice, that would be an awesome gift.

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